9 of the Best 2024 Beach Horseback Riding Destinations in the United States [and 3 in Canada]
Galloping a horse through the surf with the sea breeze whipping past you is an experience like no other.
There are many places in the United States and Canada where you can go horseback riding and we present 12 places where you can rent a horse and set off on an adventure, or possibly ride your own horse and explore on your own.
The advantage with a rental horse is that these horses are familiar with the ocean and will be relaxed and calm when walking, trotting and even cantering in the water. But you may want to bring your own horse to the beach. Note that it can be hard to find beaches that allow you to bring your horse to share the sands, and you may need some time (and patience) to acclimatize your horse if he has never been in the water before.
We’ve put together this list of the top places to ride rental horses on the beach in the United States and Canada, including places that allow you to bring your own horse. We’ve also included a few tips to help get your horse to enjoy being on the beach and in the water if it’s the first time. Enjoy!
Things to Know Before Heading Out
There are a few general things to know before heading out to a beach with a horse:
1. Know how to swim.
This may seem simple, but it can easily be overlooked. Do not ride into deep water if you can’t swim and enforce this rule for everyone in your riding group. If you come off your horse in deep water, stay well away from those hooves. If you come off your horse in the water, the safest place is to the side—do not get directly in front of a swimming horse.
2. Know the risks.
Tides, currents, and water depths are all different in different places. Spend some time checking out the area and look up the tide tables to see when high and low tides are. And be aware of heat stroke, both for you and your horse. Don’t overdo it.
3. Weight limits exist.
Most horseback riding rentals have a strict maximum weight policy varying between 200 and 250 pounds. (And they have scales, so best not to under-estimate your weight!). Best to check the limit before booking your beach ride.
Horseback Riding on a Beach in the US
Here are 9 of the best beaches in the US where you can go horseback riding on a glorious beach. Some places let you bring your own horse, so you have plenty of options.
It’s advised to check their websites and/or call for more information once you’ve decided on a destination.
No. 9. Popham and Pine Beaches, Old Orchard Beach, Maine (Winter months only)
The American northeast has some beautiful beaches just begging for riders to come explore. During your visit to this area, you can see historic beach communities and lighthouses dotting the shoreline while on your ride. Authentic lobster shacks provide a tasty meal before you head out.
The Carousel Horse Farm, near Popham and Old Orchard Beaches, offers a variety of trail ride packages for riders of all experience levels. You can ride your own horse, but if you do need (or prefer) to rent a horse, there are a few horses on the farm that are available. The ranch is not on the beach, so make sure you call before going there so they have time to prepare the horses, if you are using the rental.
Popham Beach is generally open to horses from October 1 through March 31*. Just make sure you check the tide schedule because rides are only planned within three hours of low tide!
*Maine beaches are not open for beach horseback rides from April 1 thru October 1st.
No. 8. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Enjoy some southern hospitality in South Carolina between the months of November and February. During your stay, make sure you plan a seaside romp along Garden City Beach and Myrtle Beach by using Horseback Riding of Myrtle Beach, LLC. They have friendly tour guides and well-trained horses, so your beach ride will be stress free. As horseback riding is only available from November 1 to February 28 (or 29!) you are welcome to take your horses into the water to splash around if you’re willing to brave those winter temperatures!
No. 7. Bradenton, Florida
If you’d like a warmer destination, then check out the beach riding in Bradenton, Florida! Use www.beachhorses.com to plan an experience like no other within the Palma Sola Bay. You will get the chance to experience a wet and wild day when you take the horses fully into the water. You have an opportunity to ride a swimming horse, and the instructors — one for each customer — will teach you some fun activities in the water. You might even have a few wild dolphins swim by you!
If you’d like to be a bit more daring, you can try HorseSurfing, where you test your surfing stance on horseback! If you lose your balance, the warm Florida waters will cushion your fall. This is a unique experience that goes beyond the typical beach ride.
No. 6. Oceano Dunes Preserve, California
The Oceano sand dunes are some of the finest, most extensive sand dunes remaining in California. Miles of sandy dunes contain sediments that were washed down by rivers and creeks, deposited by the sea currents, and shaped by ocean winds. During your visit, you will encounter many types of wildlife including small mammals, hawks, owls, pelicans, and other shore birds. This is land that was once inhabited by Native Americans and later by the freethinking "Dunites” of the 1930s and 40s. Today, this area offers a beautiful preserve for beach horseback riding.
For your visit, the Pacific Dunes Ranch is an excellent destination that allows you to enjoy the full camping experience along the breezy Pacific shores. You can explore the beautiful Oceano Dunes Preserve on horseback with a guided tour. Overnight boarding is also available if you’d rather bring your own horses along for the journey. While here, you can use their RV campsites, picnic facilities, and camping amenities.
Best of all, you will be stunned by the rolling hills of sand dunes that stretch along the shoreline. When evening comes, be sure to sit and enjoy the gorgeous Pacific sunset.
No 5. Bob Straub State Park, Oregon
Imagine a 484-acre state park completely dedicated to horseback riding! It sounds fabulous, right? Well, it is.
If this sounds like heaven to you, the expansive Bob Straub State Park near Pacific City, Oregon is your dream destination for riding on the beach. It is also home to the largest Haystack Rock on the entire Oregon Coast. If you travel to this park, you will get to explore the Nestucca sand spit and perhaps run across one of their legendary 50-pound Chinook salmon!
Your riding adventure should start at the Green Acres Beach and Trail Rides in Pacific City. This ranch is a short two-minute ride from the beach and has packages geared separately towards beginner and experienced riders. The 1-hour rental horseback rides begin at the beachfront location in the heart of Pacific City. Within a couple minutes the waves of the Pacific Ocean will be crashing toward you as you make your way into the Bob Straub State Park. When it is time to double back, you will turn up into the Sand Dunes that give awesome views of the park’s interior. The ride goes back to the water's edge for the home stretch.
If you’re looking for something a bit more intimate, they even have packages for private rides. These rides are designed for folks on anniversary trips or for those planning a marriage proposal. (Ladies: Share this article with your sweetheart to send a little hint! Apparently, their plan has never failed yet...)
Bob Straub State Park is unique in that fishing, hiking, and horseback riding are the only permitted activities. No camping, no OHVs, no bikes. It’s a quiet, peaceful place to enjoy the Oregon Coast with your own horse if you should choose to bring him. Don’t miss it!
No. 4. Surfside Beach, Texas
The Gulf of Mexico provides another wonderful opportunity to enjoy the sea breeze from the back of a horse.
Beach Bum Horse Rides are located near Galveston, TX and offer wonderful horses, friendly guides, and the one-of-a-kind Texas atmosphere. They are a family-owned and operated business, and sure to provide an intimate and memorable experience.
After enjoying your ride along Surfside Beach, be sure to check out the other area attractions. Surfside Beach is a small community located south of Houston and southwest of Galveston. Fishing, swimming, surfing, beach combing, horseback riding, or just relaxing are among the things to do here. There are several restaurants with great food. Beach houses can be rented from local rental companies or stay at local hotels and RV parks.
Surprisingly, Texas has no laws regarding the safe riding of horses on public roads. The only statute found deals with the requirement that owners of horses (and other animals) may not allow the animal to roam at large on highways.
No. 3. Hatteras Island, North Carolina
During a ride on Hatteras Island in North Carolina, you will get the chance to explore a maritime forest, the Buxton Woods, and the NC Coastal Reserve. There are miles of pristine sandy beaches ready for exploration. In the distance, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Cape Point will be in view with the Atlantic Ocean waves crashing onto the shore.
To take advantage of this Outer Banks beach riding experience, contact Equine Adventures, which has been in business since 2001. They have well-cared-for horses and take great pride in providing a relaxing and safe riding experience for their guests. All riding times are scheduled in the early morning or late afternoon to take advantage of cooler temperatures. Once you’ve finished with your ride, grab your swimming suit and beach umbrella to enjoy the beautiful shores of the Outer Banks.
No. 2. Turtle Bay, Oahu Hawaii
We can’t talk about riding on the beach without mentioning the best beach state of all…Hawaii! There are numerous scenic locations within the rainbow state to ride horses. Check out the rolling hills on the Big Island of Hawaii for hours of riding and breathtaking views.
What better way to spend the day than horseback riding on Oahu, exploring the 12 miles of beautiful paths at Turtle Bay Resort? Riding is available along the Turtle Bay for a variety of skill sets. For beach riding, we recommend the north shore of O’ahu with its jaw-dropping waves and hundreds of fearless surfers.
If you’re looking for a romantic ride along the water’s edge, ride in the evenings during the “Golden Hour” when the sun is just setting. Once you’re done, you can enjoy the exciting experiences of Oahu including luaus, great food, and exciting Hawaiian culture!
No. 1. Willamette Coast, Oregon
Our number 1 beach ride destination brings us once more to the rolling hills of the Oregon Coast. This luxury beach riding experience is a bit more than a typical morning ride along the shores. Instead, a ride along the Willamette Coast can become a several-day riding adventure!
The beauty of the Pacific Northwest is famous for vacations looking for unspoiled countryside and breathtaking sunsets. If you are looking for a complete equestrian vacation, you might consider a trip with Willamette Coast Ride. During this English riding trip, you will spend days exploring wine country, forested coastal range mountains, and the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Riding the Willamette Coast Ride is a real ride for intermediate to advanced level riders. Ability to canter is required. The horses are bold and well trained, and you are given some great opportunities to let them loose in a free gallop!
Don’t worry…this isn’t a rugged sleep-on-the-hard-ground type of adventure. Riders will stop along the way to sample award winning local food and wine and spend nights at the local accommodations. They have various packages ranging from three to six days on the trail, and you are sure to see some beautiful sights along the shores of the Pacific Northwest! Note that they offer this experience for only twelve weeks per year during the months of May through October. And non-riders can visit a nearby inn and spa, making it the perfect destination for everyone.
Horseback Riding on a Beach in Canada
Here are 3 of the most popular beaches in Canada for horseback riding. Riding on a beach in Canada takes some planning, otherwise the beach may just be some frozen water! Plan to ride on beaches in Canada from May to October.
No. 3 Magdalen Islands, Québec
Experience a wonderful equestrian activity at the Centre équestre la Crinière au Vent. They offer half-day excursions. The first ride starts at 8 am and the other at 3:30 pm.
Discover the beauty of the Magdalen Islands in a unique way - on the back of an equestrian companion and savor some magical moments! Your excursion will take you to fields, the beach, the bay (the horses swim in the water), the capes and even in the woods. The course makes a large loop, and the landscapes are always different and magnificent.
If you speak French, here is your chance to practice!
From June 2 to August 31.
No. 2 Niagara Region, Ontario
Escape from the crowded city and discover the great outdoors in the beautiful Niagara Region with a 90-minute horseback ride along the beaches of Lake Erie, with HorsePlay Niagara. Led by experienced guides — and gentle horses — explore the breathtaking trails of Niagara including the Trans-Canada Trail as well as the scenic shores of Lake Erie. Stop at the beach to give the horses a chance to splash in the water (weather permitting) and to capture some pictures of this beautiful area.
HorsePlay Niagara Trail Riding is just a short drive away from Toronto, Ontario, and a short drive from the famous Niagara Falls.
No. 1 Bay of Fundy Beach Trail Ride
Bay of Fundy & Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
Our number one choice is this excursion. Ride along the beach or let your horse trot in the salt water as you breathe in the sea air with Spirit Reins Ranch Trail Riding Adventures in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. On this guided tour by horseback, go past farmland through wooded trails, and then to the beaches of the Bay of Fundy. You'll be in wonder as you take in the views of one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the province within the Cliffs of Fundy UNESCO Global Geopark!
For even more thrills, take the Tidal Floor Ride. This is for intermediate to advanced riders. You will meet at the Ranch and accompany the guides and the horses to Clarkes Head. Your ride is scheduled at low tide so that you can ride your horse along the floor of the Minas Basin observing a variety of tidal creatures such as clams, crabs, shore birds and more! Take in the view of Two Islands and Five Islands as you cross Swan Creek Cove. Enjoy the spectacular views of the Minas Basin fossil cliffs and expansive mudflats.
Tour availability: April 1 - November 30, 2022, if the weather is good, and the trails are clear.
Activity site: spiritreinsranch.com
10 Tips for Riding Your Own Horse at a Beach or River
Some of the beaches we’ve mentioned allow you to bring your own horse. But, what about if your horse has never been in the water, or on a beach? Here are a few tips to make the experience enjoyable for everyone.
1. Find a beach that allows horses.
The first thing is to find a beach that allows horses. Not many public beaches allow it, so you’re going to have to do a bit of research to see if the beach allows horses.
2. Ample parking.
Make sure the beach has a large parking area nearby where you can leave your horse trailer.
3. Time of day.
Find out the best time to ride to avoid crowds.
4. Consider the tide.
Ask about the hours of low tide, and how far it is from the parking area to the sand. If you’ve never been to this beach, ask about the size of the waves. For your first ride, a beach with low breakers is your best bet.
5. Feeding your horse.
Bring fresh water and a bucket for your horse, since it’s unlikely you’ll find any fresh water near the beach. Also pack a hay bag with your horse’s usual forage. Let him eat some upon arrival to make being there a more pleasant experience.
6. Bring extra gear.
It’s a good idea to keep his halter under his bridle and bring a lead rope with you. This can come in handy if you must get off and lead him.
Wear comfortable clothes for the weather and salt water.
8. Have patience with your horse.
Let your horse get used to the scene before getting him into water that requires swimming. Even if your horse is reasonably fit, churning through water with a rider is extremely demanding, so be mindful of your horse’s exertion. If swimming in deep water, let your horse have his head—no need to worry about form now.
9. Don't go into unsafe waters.
Don’t take risks and always travel with a buddy. If you’re not sure how strong the current is or you think a river may be a little too deep and too fast to cross, don’t try it.
10. Don't let your horse paw.
Finally, watch out for a roll. This may be one of the oldest horse tricks in the book: riding into the water, your horse begins to paw at the water and before you know it, down both of you go for a refreshing soak! To prevent inadvertent soaking, don’t let your horse paw at the water.
Preparing for Beach Adventures: Equine Readiness and Transportation
Before setting off for a beach horseback riding adventure, it's crucial to prepare both the horse and the transport method. This preparation ensures the safety and enjoyment of both the rider and the horse during the journey to these beautiful coastal destinations.
Equine Preparation for Beach Rides
- Conditioning for the Beach Environment: Acclimate your horse to elements like sand, water, and varying temperatures, which they will encounter at the beach.
- Health Check and Essentials: Ensure a thorough health check by a vet, and pack essential supplies such as sunscreen for horses, hoof protectors, and hydration aids for the beach climate.
- Choosing a Safe Horse Trailer: Select a trailer that provides comfort during long journeys. Features like padded walls and adjustable air vents are essential for the horse's wellbeing.
- Travel Schedule and Breaks: Plan a travel schedule that includes regular breaks and consider overnight stops for extremely long journeys, allowing your horse to rest and recover.
This preparatory phase is crucial in ensuring that your horse is ready for the unique challenges and experiences of beach horseback riding, making the trip enjoyable and safe for all.
Essential Features of Horse Trailers for Beach Destinations
When traveling to beach destinations for horseback riding, certain features in horse trailers become indispensable for the horse's comfort and safety. These features are tailored to address the specific challenges of beach environments.
Tailored Trailer Features for Beach Journeys
- Advanced Ventilation and Temperature Control: Beach destinations can be humid and warm. Look for trailers with high-quality ventilation systems and temperature control to manage the internal climate, keeping the horse comfortable in varying coastal weather.
- Protection Against Saltwater Corrosion: Beach environments can be harsh on vehicles. Trailers made with corrosion-resistant materials or protective coatings are essential to withstand the salty, humid air.
- Easy-to-Clean Interiors: After spending time on the beach, the trailer will likely have sand and salt residue. A trailer with easy-to-clean interiors and drainage systems simplifies maintenance.
- Secure and Comfortable Flooring: Non-slip, cushioned flooring is vital to ensure the horse's stability and comfort, especially when traveling on potentially uneven coastal roads.
These specialized features cater to the challenges of transporting horses to beach destinations, ensuring that the journey is as smooth and comfortable as the beach riding experience itself.
One last reminder: It goes without saying that you - and everyone in your riding party - should know how to swim.
Riding on the beach is unlike any other experience. You will feel the pounding of the surf, the pounding of your heart, and the thrill of seeing the water from a whole new perspective.
Please share your favorite beach riding experiences and recommend some other fantastic places to ride horses amidst the sandy beaches of your neck of the woods.
Note that the information printed here is accurate as of the date of publication. The Double D Trailers team has done their best to research the sites but is not responsible for any erroneous or inaccurate information regarding third-party beach horseback riding. Please check availability and local regulations when booking.